A Syrian-born North London preacher was found dead in his car yesterday, having been apparently killed in an execution-style ‘hit’ in broad daylight.
Abdul Hadi Arwani, who was shot in the chest and pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, was a vociferous critic of Syria’s governing regime, which has sparked rumours that he was executed for speaking out against Bashar al-Assad. The Daily Mail reports the comments of a police source who told the paper the killing had the hallmarks of a “state sponsored execution”.
As a mark of the regard many Muslims held Arwani in, he is often referred to within the community as ‘shaykh’, or sheikh, an honorific title reflected in tributes paid to him by those he had taught at the North London mosque where he was formerly imam, or the London College for Islamic Studies, where he was a lecturer.
One said: “Our beloved sheikh Abdul Hadi was murdered this morning in Wembley whilst sitting in his parked car. We ask Allah to bring justice to the cowards that murdered him”.
The investigation into his death is being carried out by detectives from the Met’s homicide and major crime command.
A police statement said: “At this very early stage detectives retain an open mind regarding the possible motive.”
They appealed for anyone in the area from about 10am who may have seen a dark-coloured VW Passat or anything suspicious to get in touch. Local roads remain sealed off as the investigation continues.